ParthusCeva claims next generation Wi-Fi first


4 Dec 2002

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Irish chip design firm ParthusCeva has claimed to have demonstrated the first licensable 802.11a IP platform, the next generation of the existing 802.11b Wi-Fi standard, running over a 5GHz link.

ParthusCeva, which licenses digital signal process (DSP) cores and intellectual property to the semiconductor industry, demonstrated the solution to an audience of customers and partners at offices in San Jose recently. The 5GHz version of its In8Stream 802.11a platform is understood to be the first commercial off-the-shelf product of its kind and is fully interoperable with a commercial third-party access point.

Gerry Maguire, vice-president and general manager of ParthusCeva’s wireless solutions division, said: “The platform is already having a significant impact on the market and we are confident that, with the wider adoption of our 802.11a technology, we will further secure a leading position in the short-range wireless communications market.”

802.11 is a family of specifications for wireless local area networks (WLANs) developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). There are currently three specifications in the family: 802.11, 802.11a and 802.11b. WLANs, which are spreading like wildfire through the US and Europe, are predominantly based on the 802.11b standard, which suffers from security weaknesses that can be exploited by drive-by hackers, or ‘war drivers’.

With the onset of 802.11a, many of these security weaknesses will be removed. The arrival of a proposed new standard 802.11g next year could see WLAN data speeds be accelerated from 11Mb per second (Mbps) today, to an average of 54Mbps in offices and homes.

ParthusCeva says it intends to make technology that will enable future members of the 802.11 family, such as i, e and h, to be implemented in software without the need for new silicon.

ParthusCeva was created as a result of the merger between Dublin-based Parthus Technologies and California-based Ceva, formerly the licensing division of DSP Group. In 2001, more than 80 million silicon chips powered by ParthusCeva were shipped to industries ranging from wireless and consumer multimedia to automotives and networking.

By John Kennedy